A NUMBER of Cork City Library staff are understood to have been subjected to intimidation amid protests relating to LGBTQ+ reading material.
Opposition to certain books aimed at young members of the LGBTQ+ community has taken the form of everything from verbal abuse to disturbing behaviour. In recent days an individual was even observed ripping up a copy of Juno Dawson’s book,in protest.
Nonetheless, staff are believed to be receiving overwhelming support from the public in the form of everything from bouquets to letters and chocolates. The gestures are said to be helping those affected through a difficult period.
People who were made aware of protests came together to send gifts and show their support in contrast to protests. It is not known where the gifts are coming from but one staff member spoke of how they are lifting spirits during a difficult time. They also revealed that the unwavering public support has helped those affected realise that standing up for their beliefs was the right move.
Cork City Library said it has reported the incidents to Gardaí and has no plans to remove the books.
“A number of libraries across the country, including the Central Library, have been subjected to campaigning from groups who object to LGBTQ+ reading lists which are available to young adults,” a Cork City Library spokesperson said.
"The City’s newly acquired Rainbow City Status, a first among local authorities in Ireland, is one of many initiatives it has led on in terms of LGBTI+ community recognition and rights within our city. Cork City Libraries fully recognise the right to peaceful protest and has informed An Garda Siochána of recent activity. There are no plans to remove material from the library.”
The issue was also raised by Labour councillor John Maher at Monday’s city council meeting, who subsequently voiced his concerns to.
“We stand in solidarity with this group who have been disrespected as we strive to maintain our libraries as safe places for learning and diversity,” he said.
"We also need to respect the outcome regardless of whether we agree with it or not.”
He stressed that library staff should be able to carry out their jobs without public interference.
“We need to be careful about the people around us. There are many people we don’t know of who may be affected. Our aim should be to stand in solidarity with them.”